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'Gutted' All Black prop reaches out on Twitter to injured Grosso

By Nicholas McGee
France’s Remy Grosso

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New Zealand’s Ofa Tu’ungafasi insisted he never intended to hurt Remy Grosso in a tackle that left the France wing with a double facial fracture.

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Grosso, who scored France’s only try, came off in the second half following a tackle by Sam Cane and Tu’ungafasi.

Cane’s arm appeared to make contact with the head of Grosso, who was then hit in the face by Tu’ungafasi’s shoulder as he went to the ground.

France coach Jacques Brunel described the tackle as “illegal”, with the French Rugby Federation later confirming Grosso had fractured his face in two places and would play no further part in the tour.

Posting on Twitter, Tu’ungafasi wrote: “Remy, I hope you’re recovering well. It was a physical game and it wasn’t my intention to hurt you.

“I’m also gutted that I didn’t get to see u after the game and u weren’t well for me to visit u in hospital this morning [Sunday] before we left but I hope to catch up soon brother.”

New Zealand won the first Test at Eden Park 52-11, though France had led 11-8 at the break, the game turning on Paul Gabrillagues’ controversial yellow card.

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Brunel was not happy with some of the officials’ decisions, but said that his team struggled to match the All Blacks, especially when they were a man down.

“The first half was good, in the second half the yellow card was key.

“It was very hard to fight with the All Blacks after that. Yellow card or not yellow card, we had to deal with it.”

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New Zealand coach Steve Hansen admitted France lock Paul Gabrillagues did not deserve a yellow card for a high tackle in the second half as the All Blacks defeated Les Bleus 52-11 in Auckland.

Hansen did not agree with Pearce’s decision on Gabrillagues’ yellow card, but was happy with how his team performed, especially as they were behind at the break.

“It was high but I don’t think it was a yellow card personally, but I’m not the ref,” he said.

“Ten minutes before half-time we started to understand what we had to do, which was look after the football and go forward and try to go through them a wee bit, rather than try to go around them.

“Then we quietly talked amongst ourselves and continued to want to do that, and had a plan on how we were going to do that. And slowly we picked them apart.”

The second Test is in Wellington on June 16.

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